Govt going around in circles on student accommodation

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
29 September 2021

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said until the government legislates to ensure that purpose built student accommodation can’t be changed, the student accommodation crisis will not abate. Responding to the circular published by the Department, Senator Moynihan said enacting Labour’s bill to protect student accommodation should be prioritised without delay.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The stories shared by students last week should have been a wake up call to enact meaningful legislative change, but it hasn’t been. The circular issued by the Departments today is full of get-out clauses for the government’s developer friends.

“If government were serious about abating the accommodation crisis, they would enact Labour’s Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 which would stop developers using loop-holes in the planning legislation to convert purpose built student accommodation into apartments for tourists. What’s been issued today will not stop developers. It maintains a flexible position for developers ultimately at the cost of students who will end up commuting crazy hours or living in unsuitable, unaffordable private accommodation.

“Government has consistently failed to ensure that students have a safe and affordable place to live in during the college term. Students need affordable and purpose built housing. Not only for themselves but for the whole market. Now, as a result of the pandemic, we have a situation where many landlords that previously offered places to students have now pivoted to using their accommodation for families. This is a larger symptom of the total dearth of supply in the market and an offset of the five wasted years of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil when it comes to building homes for people.

“I would urge the Minister to go the next step for students and work to enact my bill without delay. Developers will be more than able to find ‘compelling’ reasons to suit their purposes.”

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